Arab Times

A love story, medical mystery all in 1 book

- By Molly Sprayregen verything I Have Is Yours,’

‘EEleanor Henderson (Flatiron Books) A love story and medical mystery all in one, Eleanor Henderson’s memoir “Everything I Have Is Yours” chronicles her husband’s battle with an unidentifi­able illness, as well as the toll it takes on their relationsh­ip and family.

Henderson takes readers through almost a decade of Aaron’s constantly evolving symptoms, from unexplaina­ble lesions on his body to depression to hearing voices to Aaron’s absolute certainty that his body has been invaded by parasites. Together, the couple meet an endless stream of doctors and psychologi­sts, who diagnose him with everything from schizophre­nia to Bell’s palsy. Meanwhile, Aaron is not getting better, and the couple must also focus on raising their two children, as well as the other everyday challenges of marriage and family life.

As they attend medical conference­s, couple’s therapy, and more, Henderson invites readers to question the link between mental and physical illness, asking herself what criteria is needed to make an illness real.

Interwoven with this journey, Eleanor also shares their love story, how they fell for each other at such young ages and remained ever-committed to building a life together.

Henderson’s writing will pull at your every heart string. She is raw, emotional, vulnerable. Through it all, she allows herself to be wholly human. As often as she does the right thing to help Aaron, Henderson also reveals all the times she said and did the wrong one, all the errors she made on her journey to be the best, most supportive wife she could be.

“Everything I Have Is Yours” is above all else, the story of a marriage that, like any, is filled with both an abundance of love and an abundance of obstacles. Henderson is able to craft the complexity of a relationsh­ip filled with understand­ing and mutual respect, yet at the same time, extreme disconnect.

Hers is the story of two people determined to overcome the hand that has been dealt to them, two people who love each other so deeply that they refuse to let anything tear them apart.

“The Ugly Cry,” Danielle Henderson (Viking) “The Ugly Cry,” Danielle Henderson’s powerful and energetic memoir, chronicles her childhood growing up in her quirky grandmothe­r’s house.

Henderson was abandoned at age 10 by her mother, who ran off with her abusive boyfriend and their newborn baby. And so, Henderson and her brother find themselves being raised by their blunt and sassy grandmothe­r, a woman filled with brash advice and tough love. At the same time, she is also Henderson’s fiercest advocate, a devoted and constant presence in her otherwise chaotic world.

Equal parts hilarious and heartbreak­ing, the memoir details Henderson’s quest to figure out who she is in the face of the difficult hand life has dealt her.

It takes a lot of talent to strike an artful balance between such funny stories and the solemn, traumatic moments in Henderson’s life. She finds this balance expertly, taking readers along on her rollercoas­ter ride of emotions. Her deeply honest writing is crisp, engaging, and full of life as it examines the complexity of identity, family, childhood, and independen­ce.

Through it all, the deep love Henderson feels for her grandmothe­r never stops shining through. This book, above all else, is an homage to the woman who dropped everything to be there for two kids who had no one else.

“Cheated: The Inside Story of the Astros Scandal and the Colorful History of Sign Stealing,” by Andy Martino (Doubleday)

Just as Major League Baseball seemed to have emerged from the steroid scandal, revelation­s of the Houston Astros’ electronic cheating scheme in 2017 and 2018 further sullied baseball’s image.

“Cheated: The Inside Story of the Astros Scandal and the Colorful History of Sign Stealing” is a revealing, detailed and ultimately sad account of yet another ethical failure in baseball.

Author Andy Martino writes with a novelist’s touch, ratcheting up the tension as he proceeds. And while he doesn’t say so directly, Major League Baseball leadership emerges as less than bold and forceful in dealing with the Astros, Red Sox and other baseball cheaters, in part perhaps because of a culture of “everybody’s doing it” and baseball players’ code of dispensing their own justice through pitchers’ nailing offending hitters with a well-aimed fastball.

From baseball’s origins, teams have studied pitchers, looking for nuances in their motions that perhaps signal the pitch they are about to release. The Houston Astros took that legitimate intelligen­ce gathering to a new level, using cameras to look at the signals the catcher was giving to the pitcher and then relaying them to their hitters. Delivery of the last link to the hitter was caveman primitive — bangs on a trash can in the dugout.

Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball is a game of intel and strategy.

If a hitter knows what pitch is coming — fastball, curveball, changeup — he can position himself for that particular pitch. The pitcher is trying to fool the hitter; the hitter is trying to outsmart the pitcher.

As anger over revelation­s of the Astros, Red Sox and other teams’ cheating was gathering during spring training in 2019, COVID-19 pushed aside the baseball season. So with time to think, did baseball resolve to clean itself up?

Apparently not.

On May 26, the chief umpire for the St. LouisChica­go game noticed a dark splotch on the hat of the Cardinal’s reliever as he took the mound; the umpire directed the pitcher to change his hat. That prompted Cardinal’s manager Mike Shildt to storm from the dugout in protest; he was promptly ejected.

Later, Shildt acknowledg­ed that pitchers’ use of sunscreen and other illegal substances to doctor the ball to produce more movement is “baseball’s dirty little secret.”

Baseball’s next scandal presents a familiar excuse — everyone is doing it. (AP)

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